Add a Hat to your Summer Wardrobe

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One important addition to your summer wardrobe should be a wide brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun.  Whether you are strolling through a city, sitting by a pool or attending a sporting event, a hat will keep the sun out of your eyes and protect your skin.

Sunlight is important for Vitamin D but it also causes premature wrinkling and skin cancer when you worship sun to the extreme.  A tan might make you feel good in your 20’s but it will make you leathery-skinned in your 40’s.  Finding a balance of sun exposure is very important.

The good news is that a good hat won’t cramp your style or break the bank so bring one with you everywhere.

Infused Water to Increase H2O Intake

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Staying hydrated has never been more fun or flavorful!  Here is the first of three recipes to "wet your whistle" this summer.  It all starts with a pitcher of water adding fruit, vegetables and herbs that hopefully are plucked from your summer herb garden.

Watermelon-Mint Water

Ingredients:

  • Three Sprigs of Mints
  • Slices of Lime
  • Seedless watermelon chunks
  • Water

Directions:

  • Muddle (mash up) the mint sprigs and lime slices in the bottom of the pitcher.
  • Place chunks of watermelon in Cuisinart or Mini-Chopper to make a smooth puree.
  • Add puree to the pitcher.
  • Fill with water refrigerate.

Watermelon is loaded with Vitamin C and Vitamin Ad, plus it is a great source of lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant.  Plus, watermelon is a source of manganese and magnesium, two minerals that both lessen PMS symptoms!

Enjoy, and if it is cocktail time, a splash of rum makes a lovely evening cocktail.

Plant a Summer Garden & Boost Self Esteem

gardenPart three of our #GirlUBeWell blog series to provide you with an off-screen, self esteem boosting activity is planting a garden.  If you start this weekend, you will be rewarded all summer long. Doing an activity outside gets you “back to nature” and an easy garden provides a soul satisfying experience of playing with dirt and nurturing a plant’s growth.

Even if your only outdoor space is technically a sunny kitchen window, or a balcony, you have enough space for a garden.  But even with acres of land, if you are a newbie, your best bang for the buck is to start off growing herbs.  They thrive in pots or in a small plot of land.

A trip to your local Home Depot, or Lowes, or hometown nursery will provide everything you need…the planters, soil and small plants of herbs.  Here is what we think will make the perfect starter herb garden!

Basil – Grows like a weed as long as it has good sunlight and regular watering.  Since is grows abundantly, pinch off leaves for a caprese salad, bruschetta or a quick pesto sauce.

Mint – Also a hardy plant that grows quickly!  If you put it in the ground, give it room to spread.  Mint is perfect for Mojitos and for infusing water.  Mix in chopped mint with lemon juice and Greek yogurt and you have a great topping for grilled food.

Thyme – Excellent all around flavor and easy to dry for winter use.  Thyme is great for a lemon chicken dish or in pasta sauce.

Marjoram & Oregano – Do you have a spice bottle of “Italian Seasoning?” These two herbs are staples in sauces.

Tarragon – Adds a rich, woodsy flavor to mushroom risotto or a chicken dish.

Rosemary – Excellent on roasted vegetables or potatoes and it smells heavenly in creamy sauces.

Sage – Another woodsy herb that grows quickly and the leaves are soft and fuzzy and a pale green that looks so pretty in the garden.

Chives - A subtle onion flavor and a welcome addition in salad dressing and on baked potatoes with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.

This is a satisfying way to spend a few minutes every day and there are plenty of other herbs to consider!  Fussing over the plants, either watering or picking some herbs, becomes a daily habit.  Your finger tips will be fragrant with whichever herb you pick and it feels good to grow some of the food you eat. You might find yourself looking for easy recipes using tarragon or sage if you have a bumper crop, or taking a bunch of basil in a mason jar filled with water to a friend’s house to share.  Who knows, growing herbs might entice you to try growing tomatoes or zucchini next summer.

An UNinterrupted Independence Day

Happy Independence Day Eve, everyone!  While you’re busy with prep work (or simply figuring out what to wear to the barbecue tomorrow), it’ll be useful to keep in mind the sorts of dishes you’ll be eating tomorrow and what sort of effects they might have, especially if you’re going through PMS right now.  Though these tips are aimed at alleviating symptoms, they’re also generally useful health tips as well!

Here is a list of some popular foods you’ll most likely be enjoying this Fourth of July:

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  • Ribs: Studies have shown that a diet rich in iron actually prevents PMS symptoms especially in comparison to those with potassium-rich diets. This isn’t to say load up on iron-rich foods but a call for a more well-rounded diet to alleviate PMS discomfort. Meat is a great source of iron, so work in a couple of ribs into your diet this Independence Day. There’s no better excuse to eat some yummy barbecue! But also keep in mind that too much red meat (and dairy!), chockful of saturated fats, can aggravate mood swings. They tend to cause estrogen levels to rise and an imbalance to hormone levels, so everything in moderation!
  • pieimagecopyrighted4 Pie… sweets… desserts in general: It’s going to be hard, but refrain from eating too much cake or sweets! Refined sugar causes an immediate rise in blood sugar levels since it makes it hard for the body to process estrogen. You’ll also tend to feel bloated from sodium retention, so don’t forget to cut back on using the salt shaker. Highly refined sugars also rid the body of natural vitamins so it’s best to limit sugar intake (and also alcohol) 2 weeks before your period starts to keep PMS in check.
  • spinach-arugula-cranberry-walnut-saladSide dishes of beans, leafy greens and such: To put it simply, these are good. They’re  packed with riboflavin (B2) and thiamine (B1) which lower PMS symptoms. Ironically, vitamin B supplements have been known to make PMS symptoms worse, so get your source of B-vitamins from their natural source: food.

There you have it—if you happen to be lucky enough to not have PMS during Independence Day, more power to you! But for those that do, hope this list of popular foods this holiday will help you make better choices so that you can enjoy your day UNinterrupted.

Wishing you a safe and fun Fourth of July,

Girl U